• "Dallas Car Sharks" aired for three seasons and gained the cast a huge following.
• The whereabouts of the cast members are now known, including Tommy Spagnola, Frank Cortese, Martha Davis and JD Cole, Ash Rabah, Andy Dunning.
• The cast members all had different paths to the car business, including Martha Davis starting at 15 and JD Cole helping his mother fix cars.
• The show faced some controversy in 2014 when a man sued the production company for breach of fiduciary duty.
• The show was subject to harsh criticism, but is still remembered fondly by its fans.
Knowing how common car-flipping shows are in today’s television, it’s not a wonder why many of those come and go all the time. Even if some of them are so successful that are ingrained in the entertainment culture for good, a lot others enjoy brief fame before being forgotten after their unavoidable cancellation.
While it’s up to the audience to decide in which aforementioned category “Dallas Car Sharks” belongs to, it’s undeniable that the series’ popularity gained its cast quite a huge
following during the three seasons it aired. However, what is that fame enough to keep the car dealers’ afloat business-wise? And what did life have in store about some memorable cast members such as Tommy Spagnola?
If you also have these questions then keep with us as we tell you all about the whereabouts of Tommy and some other “Dallas Car Sharks” stars!
What’s Up With Tommy Spagnola Nowadays?
Ever since he left “Dallas Car Sharks” in the second season, Tommy Spagnola has been away from the spotlight far too long. Not only has his Instagram account been inactive since 2014, but also the fact his Facebook page has been barely updated in recent years makes it extremely difficult to be updated on his whereabouts. Nonetheless, it’s confirmed he’s still married to his long-time wife Denise, with whom he welcomed their fourth grandchild in 2020.
However, while most of Tommy’s personal life is in secrecy, a couple of details regarding his professional life are easy to guess thanks to social media. For starters, his business Texas Motorcars is still active these days with Tommy still in charge. At the same time the company is headquarters for Tommy’s brother’s own car dealership Mr Car Guys, also specialized in buying and selling trucks.
While these details might not suffice for those who might like to see Tommy again on TV, it’s relieving to see life has been treating him well, apparently spending time roaming his private boat in Bahamas’ waters or simply enjoying life fishing with his family.
For those who were loyal viewers of “Dallas Car Sharks”, the name Texas Motorcars surely rings a bell. As seen during the several times the shop was featured in the show, it was clear that its staff was ruthless when it came to dealing with cars, especially in the case of the owner Tommy Spagnola.
However, our TV screens usually only let us see a small part of what Texas Motorcars actually was. According to the company’s website, the early death of Tommy’s father left him without much financial support, but with enough determination to accomplish his dreams. At only 16 years old, Tommy established his own car dealership with the help of a bank loan and countless hours of hard work.
At the same time Tommy built a business from the ground, he pursued his passion for drag racing. Though it’s unknown if he ever professionally raced, it’s unquestionable that his love for cars goes deeper than thought.
On the other hand, while establishing a company for himself at such a young age and without any help from his family, Tommy did well into converting Texas Motorsports into a family business. Nowadays, the Spagnolas not only own said car dealership, but own other side real estate businesses as well.
Where Is The Rest Of The Cast?
Now that you know Tommy Spagnola is safe, sound and as successful as ever, you might also be wondering what happened to the rest of the “Dallas Car Sharks” cast.
Back when “Dallas Car Sharks” second season dropped in 2014, fans were surprised to see Frank Cortese becoming one of the show’s main car dealers, a spot he kept until its cancellation the next year. That being said, Frank Cortese’s career hasn’t stopped growing from then. Nowadays, his company Earth Motorcars is one successful luxury car dealer in Dallas, offering its clientele a wide variety of autos for sale, starting with the classics to the most exotic models.
— Frank Cortese (@carsharkfrank) December 14, 2015
As a means to promote the business, in 2020 Earth MotorCars started a YouTube channel which offers its audience with exclusive content and clips of their car inventory. However, while their profile on said video platform still has a long way to grow, it seems that everything is going well for Frank’s business.
Regarding his personal life, in July 2022 his mother unfortunately passed away, as he announced on a heartful Facebook post: ‘My mom was the poster child for a perfect mother. She is with my father now in heaven in perfect health and with her brother and sisters’, he wrote. However, further details about his family or romantic life he keeps in secrecy.
Martha Davis & JD Cole
When it came to preserving the family business, Martha Davis and her son JD Cole were surely the biggest experts. On her part, Martha learned the art of car dealership from her father and the basics of negotiation from her brother, passing down that knowledge to her son JD Cole when the right time came.
However, it doesn’t really matter that mother and son work in the same field, they made sure that their businesses were separate. As seen in their “Dallas Car Sharks” appearances, Martha’s company MSM Automotive offered its clientele all types of affordable cars, especially family vans. Meanwhile, JD’s business Third Gen Automotive was definitely more into the classics, whether those were trucks or fast cars, on top of offering mechanic services.
Come see Martha Davis and J.D. Cole, the Mother and Son duo as seen on @Dallas Car Sharks on the Velocity! Third Gen Automotive MSM Automotive Sales and Service CelebrityCarShow.com/III
Although Martha and JD businesses worked well during the time they were in the show, it was apparently not long-lasting. As seen on Third Gen Automotive’s website, the business is no longer active, though it’s unknown if he joined another company or left the automotive field altogether. Meanwhile, Martha’s MSM Automotive seems to be as successful as ever.
Regarding their personal life, in 2022 Martha and her husband Mark Saporito hit their 29th wedding anniversary landmark. On his part, JD underwent a hernia surgery in the same year, but apparently recovered well from that. All in all, the family is doing well despite the couple of difficulties they have been through.
How Did They Get Into The Business?
While it’s not unlikely for businesses to be passed down for generations, Martha and JD were quite different from other families.
Regarding her origins in the field, at only 15 years old Martha started working with her father Charlie Davis in his car dealership, soon learning how the ‘sounds and smells’ of a car were primary in order to know a car, but as she told Dallas News in 2013, she still had a lot of other things to find out herself: ‘but the perseverance as far as being a woman in it was something I had to learn on my own’.
Her efforts as a businesswoman in a man’s field eventually paid off and in 1984 Martha finally established her business MSM Automotive, which focuses on selling affordable cars for women and teens. So by the time she debuted in “Dallas Car Sharks”, she had over three decades of experience over her shoulders.
Meanwhile, finding his place in the business was simpler for her son JD. At 16 years old he helped out his mother to repair her business’ for-sale cars, just like that, setting his path without even realizing it. Fast forward to a couple of decades later, both of them were competing against each other to make the best bidding deals without losing their personal bond, surely teaching all of us what having a family business truly means.
As one of “Dallas Car Sharks” cast members who actually appeared in the show for as long as it ran, Ash Rabah surely became one of the most popular car dealers in the show. Despite studying biochemistry at the University of Illinois. Ash’s passion for cars and businessman skills took him to Tampa in the mid 2000s, establishing there his business Tampa Bay Motor Works in.
Due to the fast-paced growth of his company, in 2011 Ash established a second location in Dallas, which was known by “Dallas Car Sharks” very well. That being said, ever since the show’s end in 2015, Ash established another location in Florida, where he apparently lives nowadays.
While Ash has been through some tough times with the passing of his son Gabriel in 2016, his social media also tells us he’s a dedicated family man, often praising the accomplishments of his kids on social media and taking them to special vacations all around the world. Needless to say, Ash hasn’t appeared on TV since “Dallas Car Sharks”, but for the looks of it, he doesn’t miss the show that much anyway.
Unlike the rest of the cast, Andy Dunning wasn’t a car dealer, but the show’s favorite auctioneer. Through his business Texas Lone Star Auto Auction, Andy was on the front of some of the most difficult car bidding deeds out there.
While not a lot was said about Andy during his “Dallas Car Sharks” appearances, his professional background includes winning the 1997’s International Auctioneer Championship at 26 years old, becoming the youngest person to ever do so. Four years later he founded his company in partnership with his father and brother, growing the business from the ground to the point of making it to TV thanks to it.
However, it seems that either Andy sold his business or changed its name since the show’s end. Nowadays, he’s president of Dealers Auction Xchange and has opened locations all around Texas, Missouri and Florida, while he’s nowhere mentioned on the website of the company currently known as Texas Lone Star Auto Auction. That being said, Andy apparently hasn’t appeared in any other TV show and details about his personal life are unknown.
Was “Dallas Car Sharks” Sued?
It seems there’s no reality show out there which can skip having any type of drama and it’s not different for “Dallas Car Sharks”. As it happens, in 2014 a man named Bruce Kahn sued AMS Pictures for breach of fiduciary duty, as he claimed the company stole his original concept for the show back in 2011. According to court’s documents, Khan affirmed having introduced producers Andy Streitfeld and Andy Martin to some of the interesting car dealers in Dallas and also came up with the name “Car Sharks” during the show’s pre-production period.
However, despite being allegedly promised to be one of “Dallas Car Sharks” co-producers, Khan claimed that AMS left him out of the project and stated they wouldn’t share profits with him, leaving him no option than to pitch the concept to another company, without knowing AMS continued production and ultimately premiere the show. On his part, Streitfeld affirmed having no knowledge of who Khan was, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Unfortunately not a lot was reported about the case afterwards, but it’s safe to assume the case was dismissed by the court. Interestingly enough, Khan has a long record of filed-and-dismissed cases in Texas and Nevada.
Although “Dallas Car Sharks” achieved moderate success during its three-years run on MotorTrend, the show was subject to harsh criticism meanwhile. According to John Kelly from the Washington Post, “Dallas Car Sharks” along with some shows from the car-flipping reality TV niche, had ‘the same tired structure repeated every episode. And always with the same overriding conceit: Oh, no! Our deadline is coming up. Will we make it? (They always do.)’, he affirmed.
Kelly’s review isn’t the only instance the show was strongly criticized. Websites such as HotCars.com claimed ‘there is absolutely nothing real about’ the show, referring to aspects such as the unseen selling processes and oversimplification of every restoration featured in “Dallas Car Sharks”. In the same fashion of the previous review, audiences aren’t necessarily fond of the show’s execution on screen and unfortunately, the negative comments led to “Dallas Car Sharks” getting rated with 4.9 points on official sites such as IMDB.
Considering the negative public opinion and the lawsuit the show faced in 2014, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume these factors resulted in “Dallas Car Sharks” cancellation in 2015.
Nonetheless, whichever the reasons behind the end of “Dallas Car Sharks” were, at least we could revive some of its most memorable moments by watching its many reruns on MotorTrend.